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When he had learnt what thing it was,
That sent this rueful cry, I ween,
The boy recover'd heart, and told
The sight which he had seen.
Both gladly now deferr'd their task ;
Nor was there wanting other aid ; -
A Poet, one who loves the brooks
Far better than the sages' books,
By chance had thither stray'd ;
And there the helpless lamb he found,
By those huge rocks encompass'd round.
He drew it gently from the pool,
And brought it forth into the light:
The shepherds met him with his charge,
An unexpected sight!
Into their arms the lamb they took,
Said they, 'He's neither maim'd nor scarr'd'.
Then up the steep ascent they hied,
And placed him at his mother's side ;
And gently did the Bard
Those idle shepherd-boys upbraid,
And bade them better mind their trade.
TO H. C.
Six years old. O THOU! whose fancies from afar are brought; Who of thy words dost make a mock apparel, And fittest to unutterable thought The breeze-like motion and the self-born carol; Thou fairy voyager ! that dost float In such clear water, that thy boat May rather seem
To brood on air than on an earthly stream;
Suspended in a stream as clear as sky,
Where earth and heaven do make one imagery;
O blessed vision ! happy child !
Thou art so exquisitely wild,
I think of thee with many fears
For what may be thy lot in future years.
I thought of times when pain might be thy guest,
Lord of thy house and hospitality;
And grief, uneasy lover! never rest
But when she sate within the touch of thee.
Oh! too industrious folly!
Oh ! vain and causeless melancholy !
Nature will either end thee quite ;
Or, lengthening out thy season of delight,
Preserve for thee, by individual right,
A young lamb's heart among the full-grown flocks.
What hast thou to do with sorrow,
Or the injuries of to-morrow ?
Thou art a dew-drop, which the morn brings forth,
Not framed to undergo unkindly shocks;
Or to be trail'd along the soiling earth;
A gem that glitters while it lives;
And no forewarning gives;
But, at the touch of wrong, without a strife
Slips in a moment out of life.
Composed at Grasmere, during a walk, one evening
after a stormy day, the author having just read in
a newspaper that the dissolution of Mr. Fox was
Loud is the Vale! the voice is up,
With which she speaks when storms are gone,
A mighty unison of streams !
Of all her voices, one !
Alone she cuts, and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain.
O listen ! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No nightingale did ever chant
So sweetly to reposing bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands :
No sweeter voice was ever heard
In spring-time from a cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings ?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago :
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again!
Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending ; -
I listen'd till I had my fill :
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink;
I heard a voice: it said, 'Drink, pretty creature, drink!
And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied
A snow-white mountain lamb, with a maiden at its side.
No other sheep were near, the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was tether'd to a stone;
With one knee on the grass did the little maiden kneel,
While to that mountain lamb she gave its evening meal.
The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper took, Seem'd to feast with head and ears; and his tail with
pleasure shook. Drink, pretty creature, drink,' she said in such a tone, That I almost received her heart into my own.
'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare!
I watch'd them with delight; they were a lovely pair.
Now with her empty can, the maiden turn'd away;
But ere ten yards were gone, her footsteps did she stay.
Towards the lamb she look'd; and from that shady place
I, unobserved, could see the workings of her face;
If Nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring,
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might sing-
"What ails thee, young one? What? Why pull so at
thy cord ? Is it not well with thee? Well both for bed and board ? Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ; Rest, little young one, rest; what is't that aileth thee? "What is it thou wouldst seek? What is wanting to thy
heart? Thy limbs are they not strong? And beautiful thou art: This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have no
peers ; And that green corn, all day, is rustling in thy ears ! * If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen
chain, This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain;
For rain and mountain storms, the like thou need'st not
fear;The rain and storm are things which scarcely can come
"Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the day When my father found thee first in places far away : Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert own'd by
none; And thy mother from thy side for evermore was gone.
'He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee
home : A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou roam? A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee yean Upon the mountain-tops no kinder could have been.
'Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in
this can Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran;' And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with dew, I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is, and new.
Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are now, Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the plough; My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind is cold, Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.
It will not, will not rest!-poor creature, can it be That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in thee? Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear, And dreams of things which thou canst neither see nor
hear. Alas, the mountain-tops that look so green and fair ! I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come there; The little brooks that seem all pastime and all play, When they are angry, rvar like lions for their prey.
"Here thou needs't not dread the raven in the sky; Night and day thou art safe, - our cottage is hard by.